Finalist, The Rory Peck Award for News

Nichole Sobecki (American)

September 2013, Kenya

Kenya: Attack at Westgate Mall

Broadcast by AFPTV

Nichole’s entry takes us inside Nairobi’s Westgate Mall during the first few hours of the deadly attack by al-Shabaab militants in September 2013. Nichole lives just ten minutes away and picked up her camera and flak jacket as soon as she heard about it.

Inside the building, she followed a group of armed civilians who were organizing the rescue of terrified shoppers.  We see them move through shops and hallways; we see bodies on the floor and one particularly iconic image of a mother and her children lying across the floor pretending to be dead. After hours inside the Mall – Nichole filmed security forces exchanging fire with the last remaining gunmen. Months after the attack, Nichole continued to file footage on the story.

Watch "Kenya: Attack at Westgate Mall"


Nichole Sobecki is a video journalist based in Nairobi, Kenya. Raised in Pleasantville, NY, she studied political science at Tufts University and photography at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts.

From 2008-2011 Nichole was based in Istanbul, Turkey, from where she also covered the early days of the Libyan uprising, the ongoing war in Afghanistan, developmental challenges facing Nepal, and the aftermath of the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. Her work has been published by Agence France-Presse, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Foreign Policy, The Financial Times and The Guardian.

Judges Comments

“Her camerawork was solid and perceptive. She had an eye for wonderful detail such as the rapid breathing of one of the marksmen. To be able to go into such a confusing, dangerous place and maintain such high quality work is remarkable. She couldn’t have done better.”